Read the printed book, not the Kindle version
James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights
David M. Freedman @ 2010-11-03
There are several useful appendices at the end of the book. I read it on the Kindle, which makes it difficult to refer to the appendices. So I recommend reading the printed version.
About 30% of the book is about the Virgina ratification convention, and then there is a chapter on Madison's candidacy for the U.S. House (which he lost) and U.S. Senate (which he won). It's interesting because Patrick Henry had gerrymandered the Virginia district in which Madison ran to make it almost impossible for him to win; but thanks to his brilliant diplomacy he did win.
All that is preamble to the actual passage and ratification of the Bill Rights in the first Congress, which is the meat of the book. Is is an accurate account, but not very lively.
First of all, Madison shepherded the amendments through the House. Some Federalists felt the bill of rights was unnecessary because the Constitution gave the government no express power to abridge individual rights. But as some moderate Federalists admitted, the "necessary and proper" clause in Article I did create a loophole that a tyrant might exploit. Many anti-Federalists opposed any legislation regarding a bill of rights, calling instead for a second constitutional convention to restore sovereignty to the states.
After the Senate passed its own version of the bill, Madison served on the conference committee that resolved the differences between the House and Senate bills. At Madison's insistence, the "separation of church and state" clause was revived in the first amendment, after the Senate had weakened it -- one of the more fascinating aspects of the story.
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